Execution or exodus, Iraqi Christians face grim choice

19 July 2014 –  From AhramOnline, and Egyptian news source:

“On Friday, Mosul’s mosques called through loudspeakers for Christians to leave, after centuries of being part of the once cosmopolitan city’s social fabric. Fadi said he could not afford to flee and argued that the prospects for those who did were hardly better.

Islamic State (IS) militants robbed departing Christians of their belongings, he said, leaving them to face destitution in grim camps for the displaced.”They were stopped by members of Islamic State, who took everything they had. Mobile phones, money, jewelry,” he said, speaking of the fate of some 25 Christian families who had recently fled.”

IS fighters took control of Mosul and swathes of north and west Iraq in a sweeping offensive that began last month. Their leader has since then declared a “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria. The group claims its goal is to return the lands they conquer to a state approximating that of early Islam, in which Jews and Christians who did not convert had to pay a “jizya” tribute to their Muslim rulers. 

“From one old woman they took $15,000 (11,100 euros). She asked for just $100 of it so she could reach Dohuk. They told her that these are the funds of the Islamic State, and we cannot give it to you,” Fadi said. Robbed of their cars and cash, many Christians were forced to walk to safety.

Some of Mosul’s Christians might be able to afford to pay the jizya, but they appear unwilling to take their chances living under the thumb of rulers notorious for executing and crucifying their opponents. “Maybe a few are still hiding in Mosul but I don’t think any would have decided to pay jizya or convert. There is no Christian who can trust these gangsters,” Yonadam Kanna, Iraq’s most prominent Christian leader, told AFP.

So much for democracy and freedom of worship in Iraq.  Read more at http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/106597/World/Region/Execution-or-exodus,-Iraqi-Christians-face-grim-ch.aspx